The Best Time to Visit New York According to Locals

ViaHero
Updated February 14, 2020

Locals tell us that the best time to visit New York was yesterday! Just kidding—but they say that the city is always wonderful to visit. With their input, we created this guide to demonstrate why the best time to visit NYC is all year round. 

The best time to visit New York? It depends on your travel style. Our trip planners are NYC locals who will give personalized recs based on how you like to travel. Learn more

"Linelly helped us beyond anything we could've planned ourselves. Everything she suggested for us was spot-on, and I feel we got the best experience by following a local's guidance."
Kate, Recent Traveler
Kate, Recent Traveler

Visiting New York City in the Winter (November to February)

Christmas Market at Columbus Circle | Kayle Kaupanger/Unsplash

NYC in the winter may seem...well...chilly—but locals tell us this is a fantastic time of year to visit. Not only will you find fewer crowds and better prices on accommodations, but also some unique wintertime activities. Don’t know where to start? Our local trip planners suggest visiting these NYC spots

Dyker Heights for Christmas Lights

It’s a bit of a trek if you’re staying in Manhattan, but the Dyker Heights neighborhood in Brooklyn is worth the journey. Why? Locals tell us that as the NYC days get darker, Dyker Heights bursts into lights—this neighborhood his known for its incredible, colorful, over-the-top Christmas light display. 

New York Botanical Garden Train Show

If you’re visiting NYC with kids (or if you simply love trains) then locals tell us a great wintertime stop is the New York Botanical Garden Train Show. You’ll get to watch modal trains zoom around NYC landmarks! 

The train show is at the Botanical Garden in the Bronx. Questions about NYC transportation? Our trip planners can provide detailed transit instructions

Union Square Holiday Market 

You don’t have to travel to France to find a charming Christmas market—locals tell us you’ll find a cute market in the heart of NYC! The Union Square Holiday market lasts from late November to late December. Our trip planners say you can find good, local gifts here. 

Local Tip:

The Union Square Greenmarket is great to visit all year round. 

Visiting New York City in the Spring (March to June) 

Springtime in the city | Juliana Malta/Unsplash

Visting New York City in the Spring (March to June) 

Locals tell us that springtime is a pretty wonderful time to visit NYC. With the dark and cold of winter coming to a close, everyone has a bit of a spring in their step. Our trip planners recommend: 

Rooting for the home team 

If you love sports, then locals say springtime is an ideal time to visit NYC. Between Citi Stadium in Queens and Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, it’s easy to catch a game while in town. Save money with local tips—our trip planners tell us the best way to get to the game is via subway.

Taking a boat ride at Central Park 

You’ll find tons of activities in Central Park, especially as the weather starts to get warmer. Locals tell us that one fun way to enjoy the park is by hopping on a boat! You can rent a rowboat in Central Park for just $15. (Our trip planners tell us you’ll need to bring cash.)

Enjoying the Cherry Blossom Festival at Brooklyn Botanical Garden

Locals say the Brooklyn Botanical Garden is a fantastic place to visit in NYC—and in the springtime, it’s even more beautiful. Starting in March, locals say that the Garden bursts into pink—it’s cherry blossom time!

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Visiting New York City in the Summer (July to September) 

Summer in NYC | Emily Fletke/Unsplash

We’ll be honest: NYC in the summer can get HOT. Locals say that the name of the game this time of year is a) staying cool and b) spending time outdoors! Fortunately, you’ll find plenty of places to visit in NYC to do both. Our trip planners recommend: 

Taking the ferry to Governors Island 

The ferry to Governors Island (just south of Manhattan) is a great way to get out of the city. Locals tell us the ferry is only $3 (free before noon on the weekends), offers beautiful views of Manhattan, and takes less than 10 minutes. Once on the island, you can picnic, lie in the shade, or grab a cold drink near the ferry terminal. 

Enjoying free outdoor film screenings

If you love movies but don’t want to spend a summer day in a movie theatre (or $19 on a ticket) locals suggest catching one of NYC’s free outdoor film screenings. Bryant Park’s film series starts in June. Get there early to snag a spot on the lawn! 

Having lunch at Smorgasbord

If you’re visiting NYC on a Saturday, be sure to go to Smorgasburg in Williamsburg. Locals say this fantastic open-air food market offers a selection from 100+ vendors. Enjoy lunch outside, then wander up to the Brooklyn Brewery to cool off with some local ales. 

Local Tip:

It’s ice cream season. If you’re staying in Brooklyn, be sure to visit Ample Hills Creamery. Or, look out for Van Leeuwen, which has great dairy-free options throughout the city.  

Visiting New York City in the Fall (October to November)

Autumn in Central Park | Andrea Belussi/Unsplash

There’s something supremely magical about autumn in NYC. Maybe it’s the crisp and cool air—or the stunning colors that descend upon Central Park—or the fall fashion flex among New Yorkers. Whatever it is, locals tell us that fall is a fantastic time to visit NYC. 

Wander through a park

Locals tell us autumn is the time to wander through one of NYC’s many parks. Central Park is fantastic, but don’t discount Prospect Park in Brooklyn or Riverside Park, along the Hudson River. 

Adventure upstate 

Locals tell us that some of the most beautiful places to visit in NYC require some train travel. Hop on Metro-North! Our trip planners tell us you can easily to get to some incredible fall foliage (and small towns) by taking the train upstate. 

Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge

As the weather gets colder, the summer crowds get smaller. Locals say that this means fall is a great time to indulge in an NYC tourist attraction—the beautiful, historic Brooklyn Bridge. Not only will fall temps make crossing the bridge more pleasant, but you’ll also get to enjoy the gorgeous fall colors in Manhattan and Brooklyn. 

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When is the best time to visit New York? It depends on you! For personalized recs on everything from when to visit, to how to get around, to where to grab the city’s best bagels, have a local plan your trip


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